28 April 2013

Art For The Mid-Century Home -Pt 2 Seeing art for what it truly is.

Maybe I should say, seeing art for how it could potentially fit. A great, and sometimes daunting thing about living in the post mid-century era is that we have huge selections of vintage and contemporary mid-century art to choice from. I guess you could call many artists today Mid-century modern revivalist artists. So, that too, means there are a lot of pieces to choose from. One thing to keep in mind though is that mid-century modern design covered a few decades. That means that it's important to keep the aesthetic of what your putting together in perspective.

A good example would be if someone had worked hard using materials and colors of the late 50's modern in there home and then picked a bunch of plastic and epoxy mod art from the late 60's and early 70's. Likely, the look would not be fluid. More appropriate would be abstracts of like colors, maybe more pastelish,  and on canvas or board. Simple drawings or light colored minimalist landscapes could work, as well as black and white photos, or figure drawings. Using textured art would also be very appropriate. Framed panels of linen with sculpted wood or screen printed image applied. Even then you would want to be judicious about the color and shapes chosen.

Many times an important factor that is over looked is the texture of the art that someone is looking at buying. Many people simply don't realize it, but texture is extremely important when trying to tie art into any vintage/retro styled them. This even includes investigating the papers and textiles produced under modern circumstances. Since processing such materials is even more mechanically refined than in the past, many of these products do not have the same textures of vintage products. This can cause a since of almost having it right, but not quite, and not being able to put your finger on why.

To illustrate, if you are looking at purchasing a reproduction of a beautiful oil abstract, but you buy it printed on a modern high gloss paper, you may very well be disappointed in the piece once it's hung in your selected space. While it is true that a good frame can make a huge difference. A good frame can not change the lack of authenticity the art may have if printed on a poorly chosen stock (paper).

What could be done to make the print of a fine abstract painting fit in with the ambiance of your home or space? Select a textured paper that will give the painting a texture, even if only slightly, or print it on canvas. One slightly textured paper would be a cotton rage. Another option is to think about using a heavy, medium, or light textured water color paper to have the image printed on. Quality giclee printing facilities have varied selections of papers to choose from.

Possibly not this photo
Finish on the art is also very important to consider. While, I find that high gloss photo papers have become extremely cheap to print on at many big stores in large format, they most likely will not give the appearance you would want for your mcm interior. A semi gloss or matte paper or canvas is more than likely going to suit your needs best.

Possibly on Watercolor paper.
Finally, don't be afraid to use art that may not typically be thought of as mid-century decor. I'm definately not encouraging anyone to stray from the feel of Mid-Century, but many artist today copy the painting styles and techniques of the artist of fame from the Space Age. A strong impressionist painting (contemporary or vintage) may suit your needs fine.

Possibly this one though.
Almost everyone today has a DSLR camera or point and shoot. Why not take some black and white photos of old factory's. Do you like animals, clouds, old houses, barns, fields or flowers? Why not take photos of those and have them printed. If you doubt how they will turn out, you can find a number of tutorials on youtube that can help you turn color photos into vintaged, or accentuated black and white photos. Just remember that for most design dated from 60 or earlier, you would not find many color photos. Also, as a graphic designer and photographer, I warn you that re-creating the old color photo style photos is an advanced process that is long and arduous.

I find that there is almost always art from some poor tortured artist in the local area that you could find at a reasonable price. Do you like their art? Frame it and hang it. Typography is also a beautiful option for hanging art. There are so many options to choose from.

Now a days, we count with the wonderful world of the internet as well. By just going thru flickr, you can find a huge number of photos and images of vintage/mid-century/retro origin or inspiration that you can easily have printed.

Only print images with the permission of the owner. Even if they don't have the images locked or prohibited from downloading. Show the respect they deserve as a creator.  Many times the artist of the image will even give you the image if it's for your personal use. However, you should always check with the artist or host first. Also, if you're going to get an image for free out the kindness of their heart, why not offer a slight donation. It's really the leash you can do for them. I mean, seeing as though you are going to save all that money on not having to buy an expensive image, why not help the poor unknown artist out. I'm not even saying offer a lot, just something. If you can that is. You'll be suprised at what kindly asking can do for you. Still, don't assume anything.

One last place to remember is Ebay*. There is always a ton of mcm influenced, or original art there. Many times you can even find a decent price for some it.

Since I have gone over the theories of how to pick out art, my next few post will be dedicated to the practical application of art choices.  Let me know if these article are of any help.

See the fist part 1 of this series here.

 links with an * at the end are affiliate links that provide amidst mod with a small, but necessary income when you buy products or products from these sites.

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